Last night’s session was fairly short on game play, but what did happen seemed to go pretty well. The reason gameplay was short was because we spent the first hour or so discussing what game to add to the rotation. Fellhold will continue, but two weeks from today it will go on a hiatus while we play a new game for a while. The thought is to keep anybody (myself included) from getting burned out or losing interest, and to enjoy other roleplaying games, cos why have just one?
But do I want to be Twin Peaks, Sting, or Floating Fat Guy?
The pitch we ended up settling on was from Caleb’s player, and the idea is that we are shipwrecked on a mysterious desert world. He admitted to being largely inspired by what portion of Lost he has already seen (for our sake, I hope it’s only season one, maybe two), but it’s going to be sci-fi and with sand worms and the like. The very close runner up was to return to a campaign from our youth (well, four of our youths, anyway) and play Bubblegum Crisis, with the same characters where relevant, but bringing in new blood. Either would be a lot of fun, and we might come back to BGC later on, or lots of other options. The other bonus to this set up is that everyone else can continue to game even when I’m not available, which will become especially relevant later this summer when I’ll be gone for two Mondays in a row.
With that settled, we got into Fellhold and picked up with more research, woo! This time their efforts were a little more focused, and they were able to determine the essentials of the elemental summoning circles throughout the temple. They then examined the main summoning circle that brought forth Gurgu and determined that it was different from the others, but they couldn’t tell if it was different enough to summon a god.
Then they decided to try it out. So they found their way into the treasure room of the temple, and besides the Heart of the Mountain, there was a whole lot of finery for the most holy of Gurgu ceremonies. I described the clothes as basically “Volcano Pope”. Their larcenous hearts were indeed fired by such rich goods (especially the Heart of the Mountain), but they decided these guys were super nice, and it would be pretty mean to rip them off, at least before finding out if their god was real.
Sort of like this, I guess?
So, they took the Heart of the Mountain, performed the ceremony, and managed to succeed in summoning Gurgu! At which point they realized something was off. They discovered that Gurgu responded to commands and did nothing else. After Yllgrad’s “successful” exorcism of demons of madness that weren’t there, they had begun to suspect that they weren't dealing with a genuine deity, but this confirmed in their minds that Gurgu is nothing more than a dumb elemental. The group debated the merits of letting the villagers live in ignorance and bliss or trying to bring them on board with a real god, and if so, what level of deception to use. The previous disaster of underestimating the faith of Odo the Sword Clan shaman was brought up, and it was decided that a certain degree of trickery was wise.
Having decided to dupe the good people of Bjergby out of worshipping what the party believes to be a false god, Varian kept control of Gurgu and started breaking things to provide hiding places while the others rushed up to the common areas of the priesthood to get everyone’s attention. Caleb cast “cause light wounds” on himself and began “speaking in tongues” with the help of “Speak with Animals” to simulate extreme religious ecstasy. Bryni called Bjergmund and the others to come see that there was a new prophet with a message direct from Gurgu. Varian hid, so that he could play the puppeteer as Bryni, Caleb, and the others worked on convincing the priests that Gurgu was really an angel of Volsungr. When they arrived at the lowest level, however, Varian commanded Gurgu to stop wrecking the place but he kept going breaking stuff. . .
Special Elemental Summoning Circle
With the proper research and in a location of sufficient elemental intensity (volcanoes, seabeds, constant winds, et cetera), a summoning circle can be inscribed that will allow even people without magical talent to summon elemental beings of the proper type for the location. The circles must be crafted in some permanent fashion (such as metal inlaid in the floor, intricate carvings, poured glass, that kind of thing) and must be of high value (say, 500 GP per HD of elemental capable of being summoned, maybe more). Though the circles can be used by non-magic users, they must be created by a magic user and count as a lengthy and involved magical research process, even if the technique is already known, as each location's unique energies must be taken into account and reflected in the design and empowering ritual.